An L&D Digression: The Mayweather-McGregor Fiasco

I’ll admit it, I’m a boxing fan.

And I will say that I am not looking forward to the Mayweather-McGregor event coming up this evening posing as a boxing match.

Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is possibly the greatest fighter of this past generation, and is certainly the greatest defensive fighter I have ever seen (save, perhaps, Pernell Whitaker).   His phenomenal athletic talent and dedication to training are legendary. Add to that his father’s defensive techniques, including the elusive shoulder roll, and what you have a fighter that is virtually unhittable.  And so McGregor will not hit him. Unless, that is, Mayweather is careless or clowns or gets old overnight, none of which are likely.

What is more likely is that Mayweather picks his spots, lands a lot of straight rights, and skates to a unanimous decision victory.  This is the likely outcome.  It is possible that McGregor will be so poor defensively and so open to shots that Mayweather will pummel him into submission.  Although this seems possible, Mayweather’s last knock out was a victory over Victor Ortiz on what was arguably a cheap shot.  But, McGregor is clearly the rawest and weakest fighter Mayweather has faced in about 15 years, so maybe we’ll catch a break and this will be over early.

At any rate, I don’t know much about McGregor, other than that he is some sort of UFC phenom.  What I do know is that he brought in Paulie Malignaggi, a light-hitting, lighter weight, former “champion”, to spar with him, and the results provide nothing to suggest McGregor possesses any tools to break down Mayweather’s defense or land a “big punch”.   Bringing in Malignaggi as a sparring partner for Mayweather is akin to reading Fun with Dick and Jane as preparation for the National Spelling Bee.

But this fight was never about boxing.  Mayweather has an extraordinary talent for promoting himself, and he saw an opportunity here to exploit McGregor to the tune of $100 million by appealing to the crassest elements of combat sports (and that’s saying a lot). How many PPV snoozers does Mayweather have to be in before people get wise? That people are shelling out $100 for this is almost beyond comprehension, just underscoring how gifted Mayweather really is.

For McGregor’s part, he certainly knows as much as I know, specifically that Mayweather is not a puncher.  So McGregor is evidently willing to take some straight right hands and look like a chump for his $30 million purse, not a bad deal.   And I suppose it’s possible that he’s delusional enough to think he has a chance of overwhelming Mayweather and landing that big white whale of a shot and ending it all.   Who knows what is in the depths of a man’s heart?

Possibly the most interesting part about the fight is what has happened with the gambling lines.  They opened at -2000 or so for Mayweather (that is, bet $2000 to win $100), but so much money came in on McGregor that the line has shifted to -500.   This being boxing, there’s probably a 5% chance or better that Mayweather hurts himself, gets disqualified, or is subject to some heinous decision — prime Roy Jones, Jr. was unbeatable, and he got hosed at the Olympics and was DQed for punching Montell Griffin after knocking him down.  Indeed, I thought that Mayweather could have been DQed against both Ortiz (for the cheap shot) and Zab Judah (when Mayweather’s trainer jumped into the ring).  So a Mayweather loss isn’t out of the question.  My theory on the money is that people are treating a McGregor bet like a lottery ticket — it’s a lot more fun to bet $100 to win $1500 or so than to risk $2000 to win $100.  As a result, so much money has poured in that the Mayweather odds have moved all the way to -500, fire-sale price for sure.  Consequently, the smarter, well-heeled heads have brought some very tall dollars in, sending Vegas into a tizzy.  Hell, I would take -500 in a heartbeat if I had a book handy.  It’s like betting that Steph Curry hits his next free throw.

It might be the case that the fight is the least interesting part about this fight.

The bottom line is that if Mayweather wanted to box the best and prove his all-time greatness, he’d move up to 160 and fight the improbably named middleweight champion, Gennady Golovkin (39-0, 33 KOs).   But, that would entail real risk against s real puncher with a real chance for much less money, so what’s the point of that?  And, honestly, who can blame him?

My advice is to save your money and pay for Golovkin-Alvarez on September 16.   Mayweather easily defeated Alvarez a few years back, and my guess is that Golovkin will go to 40-0 and add another knock out to his resume.  But, at least this will feature a real fight with real fighters in a legitimate boxing match, not the clown show that is McGregor-Mayweather.  I hope you, like me, will keep your money in your pocket and find some other way to pass the time this evening.


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